Department Colloquium: Opportunities and Challenges to Improve Space Weather Capabilities

Dr. Terrance Onsager

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Space Weather Prediction Center, USA

Space weather research activities are increasing around the globe. This growth is being driven by the growing need to mitigate the impacts of space weather, which affect our economic and security infrastructures in space and on the ground.

Advancing our scientific capabilities to the level of accurate prediction will require long-term continuity of key observing systems, the effective utilization of data in numerical prediction models, and the development of targeted applications to address specific space weather impacts.

The required observing network includes a space-based component to observe continuously the sun, interplanetary space, and Earth’s magnetosphere, ionosphere, and upper atmosphere, as well as a ground-based component to detect local disturbances.

Modeling efforts are advancing to include all components of the coupled Sun-Earth system; however, to date the available data are still underutilized. Various international organizations, such as the Committee on Space Research, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the International Space Environment Services are working to define requirements and to promote coordination of efforts to ensure sustainable, operational capabilities and consistent global services.

About the lecturer

Dr. Onsager is a physicist at the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado and Director of the International Space Environment Service. 

As Director of the International Space Environment Services, he leads the coordination of a global network of space weather service-providing organizations.

Currently 16 centers around the world provide a range of services, including forecasts, warnings and alerts of solar, magnetospheric, and ionospheric conditions.

In addition, he co-chairs the World Meteorological Organization’s Inter-Programme Coordination Team on Space Weather, and he served as a member of the Space Weather Expert Group for the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities.

Published Sep. 23, 2015 3:57 PM - Last modified Sep. 23, 2015 3:57 PM